Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., argued on Sunday that President Biden is responsible for Russia’s deployment of troops to Ukraine’s border.
During an exclusive interview on “Sunday Morning Futures” the Republican senator also argued that Biden has been “appeasing” Russian President Vladimir Putin for one year.
He made the comments shortly after the State Department ordered families of U.S. Embassy personnel in Ukraine to begin evacuating the country as soon as Monday, U.S. officials told Fox News.
Next week, the State Department is also expected to encourage Americans to begin leaving Ukraine by commercial flights, “while those are still available,” one official said.
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Moscow has massed tens of thousands of troops at the border with Ukraine, leading to fears of an invasion.
“He [Biden] gave him [Putin] a very one-sided nuclear arms control treaty the very first month of his presidency,” Cotton told host Maria Bartiromo explaining why he believes the U.S. president “bears a lot of the blame” for the current situation.
“He removed sanctions from the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, which his own party opposed.”
Senator Cotton, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, went on to say that Biden “really did nothing about the Colonial Pipeline hack.”
“And then, of course, in August, Vladimir Putin, like the rest of the world, saw Joe Biden’s debacle in Afghanistan – so that’s why Vladimir Putin thinks the timing is right here and why this matters for the American people,” he continued.
Senator Cotton then warned “it is very dangerous when you allow our adversaries like Russia and China and Iran to try to upend the status quo.”
“And all we do is have strongly worded speeches or some mealy-mouthed sanctions,” he lamented.
A Biden spokesperson did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on Sunday.
Senator Cotton suggested that, if Putin “can get away” with invading Ukraine, it doesn’t send a good message to other world leaders:
“What does that say to [Chinese Communist leader Xi] Jinping about what he can do in Taiwan, or what he can do to threaten our military positions in the western Pacific? What he can do to continue to cheat on trade deals to take jobs and wealth away from this country?”
The Arkansas senator subsequently said that “the American people care about what happens in Eastern Europe” because “it emboldens and encourages our adversaries everywhere if we simply look the other way when Vladimir Putin might invade Ukraine.”
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Senator Cotton’s comments come on the heels of advanced Russian fighter jets arriving in Belarus, north of Ukraine. The Pentagon is concerned that Ukraine’s capital is “now in the cross-hairs,” another official told Fox News.
The West has rejected Moscow’s main demands – promises from NATO that Ukraine will never be added as a member, that no alliance weapons will be deployed near Russian borders, and that it will pull back its forces from Central and Eastern Europe.
The U.S. government is planning to move “a ton” of weapons and ammunition into Ukraine in the coming days, officials said.
Talks between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday yielded no breakthroughs, though both sides agreed to continue negotiating diplomatically. The two diplomats will speak again after the U.S. submits a formal response to Russian demands next week.
Senator Cotton stressed on Sunday that he believes Putin has the mentality that the “timing is right” to achieve his goal to “reassemble” the Greater Soviet Empire given Biden is in office, suggesting how the president has handled other foreign situations thus far presents an opportunity for Russia.
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The senator warned that, resultantly, an invasion “could happen at any moment.”
“This is why it’s so important that we be clear about the kind of sanctions we would impose on Russia’s oil and gas and mining and minerals industries, how we’d cut them off from the international banking system, and that we all continue to try to provide the weapons that Ukraine needs to defend itself,” he added.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.